Lady Knights team finishes in state semis, Hartlage and Dorr finish 3,4. 

January 23 and 24 was a two-day stretch to remember for individual Pope John Paul II junior bowler Matthew Mesecher and the Lady Knights bowling team.  

After qualifying in second place following a four game stretch of 792 pins, Matthew Mesecher found himself a 6-7-10 split away from winning the individual state boys championship. 

Mesecher knew he needed just two pins to win it all, and he did just that, defeating CJ Petrin of Notre Dame High School, 177-174, for the state crown of best boys bowler in Division II. 

“It was a lot of fun to watch,” JPII coach Martin Strobel said of the win. “No one works harder than him. He has been in the lanes every day all season long. Matthew is very committed to this game. He has truly had a stellar year. His hard work and determination earned him that title. I couldn’t be more proud.” 

Mesecher only bowled twice during the day, taking down Tony Craig of Christian Brothers School, 175-167, the round before. 

During the team events, the Knights team fell to St. Benedict, 18-9, in the opening round to end their season after entering the tournament as the second seed from the Middle/East Region. 

After taking down GPS, 20-7, in the opening round thanks to ‘one of the better scores all year’, according to Strobel, with a 2,622 total pin fall, the Lady Knights fixed their eyes on Lipscomb Academy in the semifinal round. 

The Lady Knights hung tough, winning the second game 902-881 after dropping the first game, but the Lady Mustangs outshot the Lady Knights by 40 pins for the 16-11 victory. 

“I knew we needed to shoot at least 900 each game to have a chance against Lipscomb,” Strobel commented. “I thought that was our best performance all year. They were just completely on their game. It was a really fun, exciting match. They fought the whole way and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Also on the girl's side, but in the individual tournament, bowlers Madeline Hartlage and Katie Dorr entered the ladder finals looking to make their own set of history. 

After taking down Leah Hayes of Clarksville Academy, 161-147, in the second match, Dorr and Hartlage faced off in match 3 as teammates.

“It was really weird to see,” Strobel said. “I coached one girl and coach Evan (Bohn) coached the other one. It was really weird to see, but we knew at least one of them was moving on. I think they had fun with it.” 

Hartlage, a senior, defeated Dorr 172-162 to advance to the semifinals where she eventually fell to state champion Jenna Hedgepath of Lipscomb Academy. 

Following the tournament, coaches, players, parents, and fans were all very excited to let the bowlers know they accomplished great things over the week in Smyrna. 

“We just told them we know how hard they worked and that we couldn’t be more proud of them for that,” Strobel added. “No one worked harder than us from start to finish. Their dedication to this team and school is unmatched and we thanked them for that.” 

Strobel and Evan Bohn have coached the Knights bowling teams since 2018. 


Sumner County bowlers at state 


Nicholas Herzer, Pope John Paul II junior, finished seventh in the individual boys state bowling championships with an average of 182.25.

Herzer bowled a four game total of 729 with his highest score (213) coming in the first game. 


Chris Muller, Pope John Paul II senior, finished in 21st place in the individual boys state bowling championships with an average of 147.25.

Muller bowled a four game total of 589 with his highest score (156) coming in the fourth game. 


Seth Hesson, Beech High School junior, ended his season in the opening round of the individual state bowling championships with an average score of 161.5. 

Hesson bowled a four game total of 646 with his highest score (198) coming in the second game.


Congratulations to these bowlers on an outstanding season! 

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